Gen Z shuns Valentine's Day for fun with friends: Survey

Retailers group predicts record spending anyway

Retailers are expecting record spending for Valentine’s Day, but a website popular with young people said Gen Zers are largely planning to ignore the holiday.

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A survey of more than 2,000 Gen Zers by the ghostwriting website EduBirdie found that more than half planned to do “anything else” instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day with romantic plans. And 25 percent of those who are celebrating said they wouldn’t if it was their decision to make.

Avery Morgan, senior editor and director of communications at EduBirdie, said in a press release that it’s not unusual for Gen Z to act outside societal norms.

Rack of Valentine cards in a greeting card shop. (John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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“From our survey, we discovered that a majority of Gen Z has turned Valentine’s Day into a day of hanging out with friends, rather than spending it with a partner,” Morgan said. “Almost half of those surveyed shared that they use Valentine’s Day as a day to get drunk and party with their single friends.”

Gen Zers appear to be spending less than others on Valentine’s Day, too. Consumers age 18-24 who plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day expect to spend an average of $109.31, just over a third of what consumers age 25-34 and less than a third of what consumers age 35-44 plan to spend, according to the National Retail Federation.

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Even with younger shoppers showing less enthusiasm for the so-called “Hallmark holiday,” the retail group is predicting a record-setting $27.4 billion in Valentine’s Day spending this year. But that doesn’t just count gifts for romantic partners — it includes gifts for family, friends, classmates, coworkers and even pets.

“Valentine’s Day is a sentimental tradition, but gift-giving can be driven by the economy,” Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO, said in a press release. “Consumers spent freely during the 2019 winter holidays and they appear ready to do the same in the new year. The same strong employment numbers and higher wages that boosted holiday sales should make it easier to spend a little extra to say ‘I love you’ this year and to spread the gift-giving beyond just your significant other.”

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